Thursday, October 01, 2020

Li's ready to carry China's hopes

Oct 30. 2019
Li Haotong of China
Li Haotong of China
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By THE NATION

Shanghai - China’s Li Haotong is ready to carry the hopes of the country as he spearheads its charge at the WGC HSBC Champions which starts on Thursday.

 

The world number 59 is under no illusion it will be an easy task with the star-studded field glittered by 10 of the world’s top-20 players at the Sheshan International Golf Club this week. 

However, Li believes that with many Chinese players making several eye-catching performances worldwide recently, it is possible to harbour bold ambitions and make that breakthrough at the season’s final World Golf Championships event which is also the only WGC event to be staged in Asia.

South Africa’s Justin Harding is meanwhile hoping to recover from his mini slump where he has missed the cut in three of his last five events.

Harding, a two-time Asian Tour winner, started the year promisingly with a win in Qatar followed by a creditable tied-12 finish at The Masters Tournament where he was making his debut.

However, the South African’s form has been erratic in the last few months which he now hopes to correct and end the year on a high note.

Like Harding, Australia’s Scott Hend is also looking for consistency after lifting his 10th Asian Tour title in Malaysia earlier this year. 

Hend has not reached similar heights since his success in March, struggling to lift his game since making changes to his game. 

Did you know?

  • Li Haotong is making his seventh appearance at the tournament with his best finish coming in 2010 where he finished a tie for seventh.
  • Li turned professional in 2011 and captured his first title in 2014 at the Jianye Tianzhu Henan Open. 
  • The Chinese has three top-10 finishes, including a tied ninth place finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play this year. 
  • Justin Harding made his WGC-HSBC Champions debut last year where he finished tied-46th.
  • He started the year strongly with a win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March, followed by a tied-second finish in Kenya the following week.
  • Harding posted a tied-12th result in his debut at the Masters Tournament.
  • Justin Harding won his first Asian Tour title in his first start on the 2018 Asian Tour season with his win in Indonesia in July last year. He immediately took up the Tour membership after his victory.
  • Harding later claimed a six-shot victory in Thailand to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the Asian Tour.
  • The South African ended his 2018 Asian Tour season in third place on the Order of Merit.
  • Scott Hend won his 10th Asian Tour title at the Maybank Championship in March.
  • He is the first Australian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit title in 2016 
  • All of Hend’s wins have come in Asia.
  • Hend is the fourth player after Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng to obtain 10 wins or more on the Asian Tour.
  • Hend held the number one spot on the Asian Tour Order of Merit for 13 weeks before being dislodged by Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond after the Thai won the Kolon Korea Open in June.
  • Hend’s best result at the WGC-HSBC Champions is tied-19th in 2015.

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